The miraculous crucifix
called the Volto Santo or "Holy Face" is one of Lucca’s greatest
treasures. It is displayed in the famous Cathedral of St. Martin.
The face is a perfect replica of that impressed on Veronica’s veil.
That is why it is called the “Crucifix of the Holy Face,” or simply,
the "Holy Face." Ancient tradition attributes the making of this
remarkable crucifix to Nicodemus (Jesus’ confidant). Whether Nicodemus
asked God for a supernatural light to help him model the sacred
features of the One his soul loved, or whether an angel helped in
its completion is not known.
The crucifix after being
buried for seven centuries miraculously came to the Italian shores
in an unmanned boat. It was then drawn in a cart by two untamed
bulls to Lucca. The “Lucchese” (the people of Lucca) at the time
of the republic elected the Crucifix as their King. The imprint
of the Holy Face was on their coins and seals. It has historically
been an object of pilgrimage that vast numbers of people including
Pontiffs have visited. When St. Catherine of Siena visited the Holy
Face to bend her knee and adore, the Crucifix (Our Lord) spoke to
her. St. Gemma Galgani deeply loved the Volto Santo and continually
kept this sacred image impressed upon her mind and heart.